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Material studies 1: Lectures



This course provides a general overview of the key artefact categories frequently recovered during excavation. Students will familiarise themselves with the nature and properties of different materials and will acquire an understanding of different production processes through which artefacts were made.
You will learn to recognise the different materials, identify the main artefact forms and describe key technological features.

Course objectives

  • Ability to recognise a range of artefacts including pottery, flint, stone, bone and antler;

  • Knowledge of the properties of different materials;

  • Understanding of the main production processes of pottery, flint, stone, building materials, bone, horn, textile, metal and glass;

  • Ability to describe artefacts made of these materials from a technological perspective.


Course schedule details can be found in the propedeuse/first year time schedule.

Mode of instruction


Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 28 hours of lectures;

  • 382 pages of literature.

Assessment method

2 midterm exams (multiple choice) at the end of each block (each count for 50% of the final grade, and both exams need to be passed). You can only do a retake for an exam that you have actually failed.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

  • H. Hodges, Artifacts. An Introduction to Early Materials and Technology. London. (1964, met herdrukken). pp. 13-155;

  • J.C. Whittaker, Flint Knapping. Making and Understanding Stone Tools. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 85-126;

  • Syllabus.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Registration ‘Contractonderwijs’

All information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).


For more information about this course, please contact mw. prof. dr. A.L. van Gijn.


  • Attendance is not compulsory, but is highly recommended.

  • This course has two versions: one taught in Dutch, the other taught in English.